AHL, with Grand Rapids Griffins, now aims for Feb. 5 start of season

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit – The start of the professional hockey season keeps getting punted forward.

The American Hockey League, the minor league development arm of the NHL, announced Wednesday it’s aiming for a Feb. 5 start to its 2020-21 regular season.

The AHL had originally planned for a Dec. 1 delayed start because of the pandemic.

Moritz Seider, the Red Wings' first-round draft pick from 2019, played 49 games for the Griffins last season.

The Red Wings’ top minor league team, the Grand Rapids Griffins, are in the AHL. The Griffins, like all AHL teams, depend primarily on ticket sales to maintain their operations.

“The AHL continues to work with its member clubs to monitor developments and local guidelines in all 31 league cities,” said Scott Howson, AHL president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Further details regarding the 2020-21 American Hockey League season are still to be determined.”

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The NHL has been pointing toward a Jan. 1 start but admits that it could be later than that.

There has been speculation recently that the NHL is now considering a 48-game NHL season, beginning mid-January to early February, with geography-based realignment. Teams would play only divisional opponents.